A businessman sits on a wooden bench in the park a quarter mile from his office. Usually a good salesman, he’s been distracted lately. His creditors are on his back. Suppliers are threatening lawsuits. And, his family faces foreclosure and eviction.
He needed a way out.
He needed a sign.
He’d come to the park to get away from his obligations for a minute while he created a master plan. All he’d done since arriving at the park was watch people. It wasn’t so much watching as it was blankly staring into the distance while people passed in and out of his field of vision. If a squirrel had stood in front of him and started break dancing, he’d have missed it completely.
His concentration is broken by a scraggly looking old man who seemed to have appeared in front of him.
“What’s troubling you young man?” he said.
After listening to his story, the old man said, “I think I can help you.”
The old man reaches into his breast pocket, pulls out a book, and a pen. “What’s your name?”
He places a check in the businessman’s palm and pauses before releasing it. He waits for the businessman to look him in the eyes before saying, “Take this money. We will meet here in exactly one year and you will return it to me at that time. And, before you say anything, there’s not strings and no interest.”
The old man’s face cracks and a smile spreads across his wrinkled face. Then, he turns and walks off apparently satisfied with his benevolence.
Still visibly confused by the interaction, the businessman looks at the check in his hands. It is written out to him for an amount of 500 thousand dollars and signed “John Rockefeller”. One of the richest people in the world had just given him half of a million dollars. This had to be a sign!
Instead of cashing the check and paying off all of his debt, the businessman decided to put the check into his safe. The very thought of having that check gave him the desire, strength, and inspiration to find a solution that would save his business and his home.
With his hope and optimism reawakened, he went back to doing what he does best: selling. He began closing deals again. The profits paid off his debts and saved his home. His business began to thrive again.
A year to the day that he’d encountered his scraggly old benefactor at the park, the businessman returns to that same bench. He is excited about his life and grateful for the kindness he’d received when he was looking for a sign. And, of course, he is eager to share his success story.
The old man arrives on time and the businessman’s excitement raised even more as he begins to talk about what had happened over the last year. He’d just begun talking about how things began changing around a month after their meeting when a nurse runs up and grabs the old man.
“I’m so glad I caught him!” She exclaimed. “I hope he wasn’t bothering you. He always runs away from the home and tells people that he meets that he’s John Rockefeller.”
The businessman’s lips closed into a line, his jaws fell limp, and his eyebrows rose into high arches. His bottom lip dropped as if he wanted to say something. Nothing came out.
“Oh, no!” The nurse was beginning to panic. “What did he do?”
The businessman shakes his head quickly (the kind of shake you use when a bug runs into your face). “Nah-nothing.” He blinks a couple of times as the realization of what has occurred over the last year lands on his conscious. “Nothing at all. Everything’s fine. Better than fine, actually.”
“Oh, good.” The nurse exhales the breath she’s been holding since she noticed the surprise on his face. “I’m glad.” She turns to accompany the old man back to the home arm-in-arm.
Now caught up in his own thoughts, the businessman reflects on the events of the last year again. He’d worked so diligently in his business convinced that he had a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars. He’d put together deals, negotiated contracts, and expanded his business on a fake check. Maybe it wasn’t the check that had caused the shift. It was part of it. But, the real shift was in his confidence and his belief in himself which had been the source of his recent achievements.
Either way, he wanted to thank that old man. “Wait!” He yelled after them. “What’s his real name?” But, they didn’t hear him. They were too far away. Or were they…
It was then that the old man turned his head back towards him. Was that a wink?
“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.” – Cicero
Your attitude will make or break you. The businessman’s situation had not changed when he received the check. He was still in debt and at risk of losing his home. The only thing that changed was his attitude.
Hope and optimism had replaced despair and pessimism.
Do I have to remind you that despair and pessimism lead to more despair and pessimism?
The attitude you take into a doing a thing affects the energy of that thing. (Woo-woo? Yes. It’s still the truth.) Here’s the simple science behind it.
Like energy attracts like energy.
Entanglement is the theory that particles become “connected” when they have come in proximity to each other and remain affected by each other regardless of distance.
Your feelings give off an energy that affects the area around you and the things that you physically contact.
Basically, this is the reason that your grandma’s food taste different than someone else’s even if they do the exact same thing when they prepare them. Grandma puts her ‘love’ into the food and you, literally, feel that love.
Okay, back to the story. Your story. What attitude are you taking into your situations?
I know it’s hard to be positive all the time. Some truths are hard to swallow. It is what it is, though. Right?
Still, the best way to handle your situation is with hope and optimism. It’s that gap in your thinking that you must control if you are to survive and thrive. Your actions depend on the right attitude…
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden
With a renewed attitude, the businessman jumps into action. I’d call it inspired action. This is the kind of action that I like to see. Whenever I speak, I seek to inspire people. Not to inspire them for the sake of inspiring them. I want them to be inspired to take action.
Each day, I ask God to guide my actions. I have a plan, of course. But, my plan doesn’t always fit into what He has in store for me. And, when my plan doesn’t align with his plan, things get difficult. I am no salmon. I don’t like swimming upstream. (Although, that’s often what it feels like as I struggle to break free of old thinking and habits.)
Think about this…
When you work on something that makes sense towards achieving your purpose and personal mission, do things feel right? Do they feel easier? Do you feel more energized to do them? Do you even need motivation?
You don’t need motivation to get up and do the things that mean the most to you or when you feel inspired to do them. You just do them regardless of how tired or unmotivated you are at the time.
The problem with sitting in your despair and pessimism is that you focus on what you cannot do. That’s a losing situation. In the words of one of the winningest (Is that a word?) coaches in sports history, you’re letting it “interfere with what you can do.” Get over yourself!
Get Into the Solution
“I’m making a conscious choice to see challenges as beneficial so that I can deal with them in the most productive way” – Jim Carrey
Have you heard Jim Carrey’s ten million dollars check story? Here’s the shortened version as told to Oprah in 1997.
Oprah makes the comment, “Obviously you knew somewhere inside yourself that you were destined to be famous because I think it’s a really amazing thing – that visualization thing you did… This is when you were broke and poor.” Jim talks about visualizing his idea of success sitting in his car every day at the top of Mulholland Drive before Oprah asks, “Didn’t you write yourself a check?”
“Yeah, I wrote myself a check for 10 million dollars for acting services rendered… and I dated it Thanksgiving 1995. And, I put it in my wallet and it deteriorated… but then just before Thanksgiving 1995 I found out that I was going to make 10 million dollars on Dumb & Dumber.”
What I didn’t transcribe from the interview is that Jim visualized and worked hard. He states, “You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.” Yet, that’s what so many of us do when it’s time to go to work. It’s what I call an “Excuse Sandwich” and it is a top seller for too many people.
At the end of the day, the only way to make things happen is to get into solutions and develop a bias towards action.
If you truly want to start making money in your business, it’s time you got into action.
If you truly want to spend more time creating experiences with your family instead of waiting for the right time (translation: saving enough money), it’s time you got over yourself.
If you truly want to be a part of your children’s lives and still make a difference in the world, it’s time you got your principles and values in order.
With your end goal in mind, you must take the all-important step of accepting where you are honestly and fearlessly…
“Do your best. Let God handle the rest.”
Typically, it’s one of the hardest things to do. Who wants to stop putting their needs first? Not me.
However, I do exactly that when thinking about my responsibility as a leader of my family, my business, and of those that follow in my footsteps. You don’t have time to wallow in self-pity when people depend on you. I get that you may need some time to process. After that… Get to work.
Did you notice how quickly the businessman accepting his situation?
When he was presented with a check – let’s call it a belief check – he snapped out of his despair and pessimism. Again, nothing had changed externally. It happened internally. He accepted the truth and decided to take action.
One thing you know about me is that I am a recovering addict. You know that because I have accepted the reality of my life. I cannot use drugs or alcohol successfully. There was a period when I didn’t know how I was going to move on with my life without them. It wasn’t that I had to have them to live. I had several periods of soberness that were proof that I could.
The biggest problem was that I identified with using. My friends were users. When I worked, I worked so that I could have money to hang out and use. When I celebrated, I used. When I was in pain, I used. Everything in my life revolved around using. (Do you remember the Jon Stewart scene from “Half Baked” who is the ‘enhancement smoker’? That’s what it was like.)
How was I going to move on with my life without my best friend, drugs?
The sobering truth (pun intended) is that I wasn’t living. I was surviving. Sound familiar?
When we are stuck in a spin cycle in our life, we only end up wet and dizzy. (Do not ask me what that means. You tell me.)
Acceptance requires action. You see the facts. Acknowledge the facts. Let go of past. Focus on what you can do now. And, let God do what He does best.
Of course, it’s a little easier with a little belief…
CALL TO ACTION:
I’d like for you to write yourself a belief check. Put the amount of money that you’d like to earn and the date when you’d like to earn it. In the memo line, write what you will in return for that amount of money. What service are you rendering? Take a moment to make a commitment to yourself make it happen. Then, sign your check. You’ve officially made a contract with yourself not unlike the secret in Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich” (Amazon link).
One last thing, I’d love to see a copy of your belief check PLEASE BLACKOUT YOUR BANK INFORMATION or use the mock check below and send it to me: messenger or email. And, I will contact you about how to help you create a game plan to cash in your belief check!